September 23, 2014

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Owner of Lorain pizza shop shot, killed

David Kowalczyk, 43, slain at Granny D’s Saturday night

LORAIN — The owner of Granny D’s Pizza was shot and killed while at work late Saturday.
David Kowalczyk, 43, of Lorain, was found dead by police inside his East Erie Avenue restaurant, about 11:45 p.m. shortly after he was shot. Police were not releasing many details about the incident and are still investigating what happened.
A woman was also was working in the restaurant at the time of the shooting, but was not injured. After answering her door crying Sunday afternoon, she told a Chronicle reporter that she was too upset to offer any details about what had occurred.
The restaurant, which closes at 1 a.m. according to a sign on the door, is surrounded by houses, but neighbors said they didn’t know anything had occurred until they saw police cruisers outside. Fireworks that were going off all night likely drowned out the sound of any gunshots, they said.
Once word got out about the shooting, however, dozens of people walked or drove in the dark to the restaurant early Sunday, huddling around the yellow police tape to pay their respects.
“Some were crying, some were watching and others were just seeing what was going on,” said Cynthia Montanez, who lives across the street from the restaurant on Georgia Avenue. “People were lined up all around the police tape and across the street.”
Montanez said Kowalczyk was a kind man who always greeted her with a smile when she walked into his shop.
Joe Wilcox, who used to work at the restaurant, stopped in its parking lot just before 1 p.m. Sunday to say his goodbyes. He lives in Kentucky now, but he made a habit of visiting Kowalczyk at the restaurant every morning when he came back to town. He saw Kowalczyk at the restaurant Saturday morning — just 12 hours before he died.
“This has always been my routine, so I didn’t want to break it by not stopping,” he said on Sunday. “He’d give you the shirt off his back. He was a great human being — the best you’ll ever know.”
Wilcox, 36, worked at the restaurant for 13 years until he was 28 years old. The two were friends, he said, who would play basketball and help each other with home improvement projects.
Wilcox said Kowalczyk wasn’t married and did not have children but was dating someone. A woman who answered the phone at Kowalczyk’s sister’s house said the family did not want to talk to reporters.
Contact Adam Wright at 329-7151 or awright@chroniclet.com.